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Essential Workers in CT Protest For Racial, Economic Justice

Across the U.S. Black workers walked off the job for 8 minutes 46 seconds, the amount of time a police officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck before he died.(Pikist)
Across the U.S. Black workers walked off the job for 8 minutes 46 seconds, the amount of time a police officer had his knee on George Floyd's neck before he died.(Pikist)
July 21, 2020

HARTFORD, Ct. -- Connecticut workers held multiple protests Monday demanding racial and economic justice, as part of a nationwide day of action called "Strike for Black Lives".

Advocates joined together in Hartford and Darien to remember workers lost to the pandemic, honor lives lost to police brutality and call for better treatment in the workplace. Union leader Rochelle Palache with the Service Employees International Union Local 32BJ said the action in Hartford was intended to convince large insurance companies to make sure their security guards, who work for subcontractors, are offered health insurance.

"If you value Black workers, pay them what they're worth," Palache said. "Provide them with livable wages, affordable health care and respect and dignity in the workplace."

The event in Darien at a rest stop was meant to draw attention to allegations that McDonald's and other companies are using COVID-19 as an excuse to lay off too many workers.

In more than 25 cities nationwide, Black workers walked off their jobs for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd's neck. The killing has sparked weeks of protest and unrest around the world.

Palache said the protesters also are pressing the U.S. Senate to take up the HEROES Act, which passed the House in May.

"The HEROES act would provide protection for laid-off workers," she said. "It would provide adequate PPE. It would also provide hazard pay or essential pay."

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal attended the event in Daruen and called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring up the Heroes Act for a vote.

Disclosure: 32BJ SEIU contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Immigrant Issues, Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CT